Review of Yamaha Wr250f
6 mins read

Review of Yamaha Wr250f

Every year a heavy focus is placed on motorcycle manufacturers’ newest motocross bikes as well as their cross-country racers and dual sports. However, sometimes it’s easy to overlook models that fall in between an off-road racemize, like the Yamaha YZ250FX, and a street-lawful dirt bike such as the KTM 350 EXC-F. Although the Yamaha WR250F is not California green-sticker-eligible like some other manufacturers’ endure models, it does qualify for a California red sticker like its YZ250FX counterpart.

Designed for trail riders and endure racers alike, the WR250F received several updates last year, many of which were also given to the YZ250F in 2019. We did not get an opportunity to test the WR250F last year due to the recent times, so we were extra excited to get our hands on the 2021 model, which is mechanically the same as last year’s bike. After weighing, measuring, and dining it, we took the WR250F to some of our favorite trails in SoCal’s high desert and ended our rides with an ear-to-ear grin.

While the WR250F has different ECU tuning than the YZ250FX and a Forestry Service-compliant spark seize-type muffler, the engine itself is the same as the YZ250FX. What’s different is the WR250F’s enduro-specific engine tuning, which naturally means the ignition and fuel-injection maps are designed for enduro riding and racing.

What should be understood here is that because Yamaha designed the WR250F for enduro racing, the Tuning Fork guys made no attempt to make it a hybrid dual sport or, if you live in California, green-sticker-compliant. There is no carbon canister nor emission controls, which means you have a better-running enduro bike straight off the showroom floor. While the WR250F runs very well, its Forestry Service-compliant spark seize-type muffler causes its power output to be less than the YZ250FX and YZ250F, specifically 1.7 hp and 2.9 hp less at peak, respectively, than those two models.

The six-speed transmission is shared with the YZ250FX and offers optimized gear selection for technical terrain as well as wide-open fire roads. The first and second gears are particularly useful. In second gear, I was able to still get down to a very low speed without losing throttle response; yet I was able to carry that same gear much further than expected. Because of the surprisingly long second gear, the amount of shifting on tighter trails is noticeably reduced, as is the gap between second and third. As expected, fourth, fifth, and sixth gears have a little more of a noticeable gap on this wide-ratio gearbox.

The 2021 WR250F engine has received a clutch basket update for durability, and the overall performance remains very good. Even though the engine is slightly restricted, clutch fade is almost nonexistent due to good gear ratios and sufficient roll-on power to make mis-word of the clutch unnecessary.

The WR250F comes equipped with the same KYB Speed Sensitive System (SSS) coil-spring-type fork and KYB surprise as the YZ250F, but with different valving and spring rates for enduro competition. Fork and surprise travel are 12.2 inches and 12.5 inches, respectively. The fork is adjustable for compression and rebound damping, while the surprise features spring preload, high-/low-speed compression, and rebound damping adjustability.

The WR250F is an incredibly comfortable ride. The suspension settings are noticeably softer in comparison to the motocross version, but still offer plenty of resistance to bottoming. The fork offers enough holdup under braking that you still have confidence to drive harder into corners in comparison to other models. While they are still plush enough in the initial part of the stroke, you can ride through rocky sections with comfort. The surprise is well balanced in relation to the fork.

Keeping in mind that last year’s WR250F was completely updated to the 2019–2020 YZ250F chassis design, no changes were made to the 2021 model. The WR250F shares the same frame, subframe, swingarm, and suspension as the highly rated YZ250F. The KYB SSS fork and KYB surprise are some of the most highly praised stock suspension components available.

Some of the features differentiating the WR250F from its motocross-focused YZ250F counterpart include a larger 2.2-gallon fuel tank, which fits directly in place of the smaller motocross version without any unusual displacement of the bodywork; a radiator cooling fan, to assist in keeping the engine cool while negotiating tighter enduro-type trails; a full-coverage composite skid plate; an off-road-sized 18-inch rear wheel; Dunlop Geomax MX3S tires; a kickstand; a steel rear sprocket; and a sealed O-ring chain.

Additionally, the WR has several enduro-specific features including fuel level and engine warning lights, a stylish front headlight, and a compact taillight. There is also a multifunction enduro meter that incorporates two tripmeters, a clock function, and a race mode featuring an average speed display and a timer.

This bike is about as close as you can get to the full-race motocross version while still checking almost all the enduro requirement boxes. There are zero changes to ergonomics, even with the larger fuel tank. It may be bigger, but it’s no wider, as the Yamaha designers found a way to extend the tank lower in the chassis. The headlight and taillight are both well thought out and stylish in design. The taillight also seems to be extremely durable in comparison to some models using a more street-lawful assembly. Considering the restrictive spark seize-equipped muffler, the engine produces an impressive 36.1 hp on the dyno.

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